Growing banana for domestic market-A A +A
Monday, October 15, 2012
DRAINAGE is important to prevent water logging. The drainage system may consist of the main canal and a series of secondary and tertiary canals depending on the type of farm, extent of rainfall, topography, soil texture, and management.
Stem and mat sanitation: Sanitation significantly eliminates the habitat of some insect pests. In cleaning the banana plant, cut off the dried stalk and leaves. Pile them in between plots or around the mat 30-60 centimeters from the base of the plant. If they are diseased, burn or bury them. Maintain a clean plantation, by regularly cutting off dried stalks and leaves every 45-60 days.
Weeding: Weeds can be controlled by mechanical and chemical means. Mechanical weeding can be done through slashing and ring weeding. Slashing is more practical on newly established plantations while ring weeding is usually done by removing the weeds within a radius of 0.75-1 meter from the base of the plant three weeks after planting and before fertilizer application. Mulching is also an alternative weed control method.
Desuckering or pruning: Desuckering is done once a month to maintain the desired population and minimize competition for sunlight, water, and nutrients among the plants in a mat or hill. Ideally, allow 1-3 suckers in a mat, depending on the scheme being followed. Remove unwanted suckers by cutting the pseudostem as close to the ground as possible. Remove the growing point to prevent regrowth.
Harvesting: Depending on the distance from the market, banana should be harvested green at varying stages of maturity. Among the maturity indices are the following: the plant has six or less functional leaves; fruits are full, plump, round and light green; angles in the fingers are rounded; and leaves turned yellow.
For latundan, harvesting is done not earlier than 70 days hanging; it is about 9-11 weeks from flower emergence. For lakatan, harvest not earlier than 80 hanging days or 12-14 weeks from flower emergence. For saba and cardaba, harvest not earlier than 118 hanging days or 20-24 weeks from flower emergence.
When harvesting small bunches, cut the trunk slowly and partially about one-third for the top to ensure slow toppling of the bunch. Use knife, bolo, sickle or hatchet to do the operation. Hold the peduncle leaving about 30 centimeters of the stalk for easy handling.
For big bunches, bamboo pole is used to support the upper portion of the bunch. The harvester moves the base of the pole slowly until the bunch touches the shoulder pad. The harvester then cuts the stem of the bunch 46 centimeters above the fruit to provide a handle for the carrier. Do not cut the pseudostem to the ground after harvest. Leave at least 1 to 1.5 meters of pseudostem.
Postharvest handling: De-handing with a knife or special de-handing knife. Clean/wash the newly harvested fruits. Air dry after washing and then pack the fruits.
Among the available packing materials are: woven large bamboo or rattan baskets lined with dried banana leaves or newsprints; wooden crates of 30-kilogram capacity; and 12-kilogram capacity cartons.
Packed fruits are either kept in cold storage or ripening rooms.
"Work out marketing arrangements before harvesting," suggests PCARRD. In order to get a good price for your fruits, "check established banana wholesalers and retailers in your area."
The banana is mentioned for the first time in written history in Buddhist texts in 600 BC. Alexander the Great discovered the taste of the banana in the valleys of India in 327 BC. The existence of an organized banana plantation could be found in China in 200 AD. In 650 AD, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. In the Middle Ages, both Moslems and Christians thought that the banana was the forbidden fruit of paradise.
Unknowingly, banana is one of the most healthful fruits the world has known. Alexander the Great was so fascinated by the virtues of this fruit that he described it as "the heavenly fruit that tasted like nectar sweetened in honey."
Health experts claim that banana is low in protein, free of fats but high in energy. A fully ripe banana has 20-25 percent sugar. It has a significant amount of B-vitamins, especially B1 and B6.
"One medium-sized banana boasts of 100-125 kilo calories, 4-5 grams fiber, about 400 milligrams potassium, 17 milligrams calcium, 36 milligrams phosphorus and traces of other minerals like iron," said Professor Kanwar, an eminent biophysicist who writes for the Health Tribune.
By the way, when you compare banana to an apple, banana has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. Perhaps, it is high time to change that well-known American phrase to “A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 15, 2012.